Winning respect, sharing hope

By November 20, 2013

Central Asia (MNN) — Imagine being part of a soccer team and your next game is against inmates from the local prison. Would you be scared?

(Image courtesy OM)

(Image courtesy OM)

An Operation Mobilization sports ministry team in Central Asia had their hesitations.

“We’re going to play against criminals?” asked Maksat before the game. “Will we actually be able to play any soccer, or will they be so rough that we’ll just be knocked off the field?”

“Will there be guards to protect us?” added Sasha.

But in the end, it wasn’t as bad as they thought. The OM team, consisting of four expat believers, two believing nationals, and five non-believing friends, won five to eight and there was no rough play from the inmates.

After the game, a referee shared his testimony and several prisoners took interest in the Gospel. Pray for changed hearts and lives as inmates and non-believers alike learn more about Christ.

“I am excited with the opportunities we have to openly share the reason for the hope we have within us, to non-believers on both sides of the prison walls,” said one member of the sport ministry team.

Workers responsible for sports ministry in Central Asia never thought it would be possible to organize a football game against inmates from the nearby prison.

But a friend who works with local prisons told them that a few inmates were allowed out of the prison occasionally. The friendly soccer match mentioned earlier, with its fierce competition and mutual respect, gave the two teams a chance to share their lives with each other.

It has now become a monthly event. Pray friendships established through soccer lead to Gospel conversations.

OM SportsLink helps OM teams around the world transform lives and communities through sports. Learn more and find opportunities to serve in sports ministry here.

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